When Development Consultant Lynda Holt sent out an email telling prospects about a programme her company Dolan & Holt Consultancy was about to re-launch, she was a little nervous about the response after all, it was 10 times the price of the original programme.
The email was offering a £2,500 comprehensive training programme to people who wanted to become 360 Degree Feedback* practitioners for the public and private health sector.
The revised programme, under the company’s ‘Health Service 360 brand, offered an intensive weekend training seminar, on-going support and face-to-face follow-up meetings. An enhanced programme offered participants the intensive training and follow-up, as well as a personalised website to sell the 360 Degree Feedback products under their own branding.
In the past, Health Service 360, a leadership consultancy for the health sector, had offered a much shorter training course for £250 on par with market rates.
She was therefore understandably surprised and delighted when three people immediately signed up for the revised programme.
More sign-ups have followed and so far that one email has generated £25,000 of new business. It also represents a 400% return on Lynda’s original investment in the Digital Lighthouse Business Development Programme.
“We have attracted a really high calibre of people – highly motivated coaches and learning development professionals.”
And Lynda credits Digital Lighthouse with the idea of revising the original programme and for the copywriting techniques that made that email so powerful.
“I had been thinking about the training we run for coaches and practitioners for some time, and what we should do next. At that time, we were offering a short days training for £250 for feedback practitioners to come and learn about our systems and reports. We weren’t offering anything more substantial by way of on-going personal and business growth. That is the bit that I am really passionate about helping people to reach their potential.
“I wanted to build that part of our business up a little bit more so I talked about it in the Business Development group meeting.
“During that conversation, we moved away from the £250 short course to the idea of offering a more robust development programme and charging £2,500.
“I think [Digital Lighthouse Founder] Jonathan Jay’s words were ‘If you want to make a million pounds, charging 400 people £2,500 each will do it.’”
The suggestion about raising her prices and adding more value to her training programme had a profound impact on Lynda’s thinking.
“It was like a huge penny dropped. I thought, ‘Actually, this is exactly what I like doing. Why aren’t I doing it?’ I went away and put together a development package which is a weekend of introductory training, and then on-going support and face-to-face development and networking meetings.
“The most valuable thing that I’ve got out of this whole programme, far more than any of the tools and the techniques, is the mind-set shift. That mind-set shift, I think, is absolutely critical to how you see your business, what you are prepared to risk and how you value it. Being able to think about it and talk it through with the Business Development group gave me the confidence to think, ‘Well, I’ll go for it.’”
“That shift will be the thing that makes the difference between ticking along with everyone else and really standing out.”
Once she’d put together the comprehensive programme, Lynda used the copywriting techniques she’d learnt from Digital Lighthouse, to write an email inviting clients to sign up.
“I wrote an email letter, absolutely following all of the style things that I had learned on Digital Lighthouse, and sent it out to my existing group of 200 either very new practitioners, or people who were very interested in being a practitioner, but hadn’t really done anything about it.
“We’re running our first programme next weekend.”
Offering an on-going development programme will have additional benefits, says Lynda. “We will have an on-going link with the people who are on our programme. They’ll continue to buy and use our 360 Degree Feedback products, which helps promote our brand. But more importantly, we are developing a network of people so that when we do get the bigger clients, we will have people that we can confidently recommend to manage the projects under our brand, which is a good reciprocal arrangement for us and our practitioners.
“But even better not only am I doing something I love, I’m making a much bigger profit with a lot less effort, and I genuinely put this success down to the mind-set shift that I have got from being involved with the Business Development group.”
The success of that initial email has inspired Lynda to redesign and rewrite the company’s entire marketing material. That meant scrapping the company’s glossy brochure.
“We have recently changed our marketing material to follow the style that Jonathan talks about.”
When Lynda first attended a Digital Lighthouse event, she doubted such a style would suit her market.
“Some of the things that were being talked about during that first weekend felt like they were almost counter-intuitive to the corporate market, particularly the public sector where much of our business is. There was a lot of focus on how you put sales emails and marketing emails together, with lots of information, testimonials and free offers.
“Our main UK client is the NHS and I just didn’t think emails or sales letters like that would appeal to an organisation like the NHS. I could see where it would work for somebody selling something to the general public and trying to raise their product awareness but I wasn’t convinced about how I could use stuff like that to target executive directors in the NHS and whether they would take that sort of style seriously enough.
“If you had asked me when I went for that first weekend whether I would rewrite our marketing material the way I have, I would have said ‘Absolutely not; it is completely inappropriate for my market. And I look at it now and I am fairly certain that it has raised the level of interest in our company.
“I am very confident it will generate more sales.”
Once the first intensive training weekend is completed, Lynda plans to offer the programme to more practitioners and coaches industry wide, as well as continuing to revamp the company’s website and internet marketing strategy and write a handbook for 360 Degree Feedback Practitioners.
“I have a long list of things that I still have to do. I have a vision of key practitioners who will be able to do the practitioner training and the things that I am doing now. And I have a real strategy for it developing into something much bigger. So it has invigorated my passion for our business too.
“The Business Development Programme has really opened my eyes to the limitless possibilities.”
*360 Degree Feedback is feedback provided by subordinates, peers and supervisors and sometimes external sources such as customers, suppliers or other interested stakeholders.